Mile 110 - 145 | Mike and Mary’s
We dilly-dallied leaving Warner Springs, still toying with the idea of a zero. The community centre had an event on for a few hours in the morning so we left our electrics to charge and jumped in a ride to the post office to get our food we’d sent ahead. I had packed far too much again so sent a small package forward to Idyllwild of coconut milk and wet wipes!
Eventually after eating half of our resupply and playing at least two games of Yahtzee we peeled ourselves away from the comfort and did a small 5 miles to a creek. It was a pretty walk and it was nice to go slowly and enjoy the change in scenery from the desert to the meadows then to the sandy water banks. We met Dan who wowed us with his gorgeous photography of the meadows and sights so far, it was great to see how he viewed the trail vs what we had seen over the past few days. Along with just being an amazing photographer, he also uses the Moment lens on his iPhone which brought out great results! He said he had sent his camera to Idylwild so we can’t wait to see what he produces over the next few sections of the trail!
I made my favourite dinner of ramen noodles, Muji okra soup packet, coconut milk and tuna - it warms the soul! I cook the noodles in water in my Toaks cook pot whilst combining all the other ingredients in a freezer bag - it saves me from having to clean my pot!
We had no signal in the valley by the creek but there were rumours running around that it was going to rain at 6am so Claire and I made a hasty plan to be out by 5:30am!
Claire and I were out on trail so early in the morning it was still a little dark! We were full of energy from the small days and it was cool enough to hike fast without sweating - win! We chatted as we walked and I took the chance to discuss what had been swimming around in my mind over the previous day and night. Out here on trail we are in a pressure bubble, you have so much time to think and be in your mind - this can be a good thing when you need to muddle through something but also bad if you aren’t on top of your negative thoughts. I’m a very positive person but sometimes when i’m on my period my hormones win over the rational mind and I have to work at separating real anxieties like ‘did my filter freeze’ from silly anxieties like ‘maybe they don’t like hiking with me anymore, am I annoying?’. It is exhausting and i’m forever appreciative that this isn’t my normal state of mind! I am also so grateful to have a friend like Claire here who I can bounce these thoughts of a verify that i’m just being silly!
It never actually rained on us but it was a very misty day, the air was so wet! Claire and I had our shorts on so we could slip on our rain trousers but you just couldn’t win - it was either too cold without or sweaty with them on! One of the Belgian girls we passed commented that it was like hiking on a floating mountain, we just couldn’t see how high up we were or how far we had to go!
We were aiming towards Mike’s place, a trail angel’s house which is supposed to be fun and quirky! (And out of the cold!!) It was so cold that we barely stopped for lunch!
It was quite eerie walking down the lane towards the house, there was what looked like an abandoned RV, a shack without a roof, a car with flames on it and a ramshackle house - where were we!?
We were greeted with an enthusiastic Hey from one of the Germans, Toby who we’d been hiking around. ‘Come inside!’ He shouted. We awkwardly danced around the door, not wanting to be the first in. The room was a lot to take in, there was a table packed chocca with all sorts of books and things, a plate of figs and familiar faces of friends we hadn’t seen for a while! Cyclops and Strange Bird were the hosts as Mike is rarely there (is he real? Has anyone ever met him?) Strange Bird jumped up and welcomed us in, apparently they aren’t normally allowed to let hikers in the house but this was a special occasion because of the weather! Cyclops made us tea and coffee and we found ourselves sinking into the assortment of seats.
We couldn’t quite make out what we thought of the place apart from the conversation never went the way we thought it would, Strange Bird had all sorts of games he kept showing us and there was every instrument under the sun!
Both Strange Bird and Cyclops were storytellers in their own right, Stange Bird told us about his furry tail and how it works and an adversion tactic to hide his anxieties and Cyclops filled us with stories of his travels and time on the trail.
We decided that we would stay the night and snapped up the porch to ‘cowboy’ on! Yet another good decision i’d say!
The clouds had all but gone in the morning as hikers emerged from tents and wherever they ended up sleeping around the house. The parting words of Strange Bird of ‘when it hits 90f degrees and the leaves are on the trees, the rattle snakes will be out!’ rang in our ears as we hiked out into the already hot morning. We rejoined the trail and realised we were actually quite high up and surrounded by mountains, sights we had no idea existed in the mist the day before!
The combination of the heat and the climbing up and round was exhausting, any bit of shade was welcomed.
We met Rampage, Noodle, Kent and Julian by the first water source, we all crammed into the tiny bit of shade and ate what snacks we had. I’d bought easy peeler oranges in Warner Springs so enjoyed two in quick succession. You could see the trail ahead of us and it looked punishing! The worst thing about having hikers ahead of you on trail is being able to see where the trail goes, especially when they look so small and far away (and high up!).
The trail mix combination i’d put together in Julian was still going strong - sesame snaps, bits, m&ms, walnuts and pear jellybeans. I can feel my taste slipping towards sweet juicy sweets and away from savoury salty snacks I usually want.
We pushed onwards and upwards on a long waterless stretch, the terrain was desert-like and high up so the shade was fast running out. We were heading to Mary’s place, a trail angel who allows hikers to camp on her land, leaves out books and poems and even has a toilet and shower!
We were struggling along when we saw a sign that said water cache ahead! It wasn’t listed on any of the the guides so it was quite exciting to hike towards - trying to work out if it was old or still relevant! Turns out it is a cache managed by a local church group, how lucky we are there are such kind people around who care so much about our hike!
Guthook said it was only 2 miles on from here to Mary’s place but it felt so much longer! I pushed ahead of Claire after the moral boost of the cache and kindness but kept shouting back the mile count downs to Claire everything the trail switched back round and I could see back across to her.
Mary has a large water tank that she hand fills with water because they can’t run a pump to it. There’s a smal library with poems printed small and lightweight, just for hikers and some benches, it was like a little oasis! We taught Dan and Julian Yahtzee and all ate together on the benches before falling into yet another slumber, this time with coyotes howling away at the moon!
Thank you Mike and Mary!